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Posts Tagged ‘fox’

It’s the tinkling bell sound crickets make,

As the sun sets golden on the sand.

The waves that lap upon the shore,

Where paper boats return to land.

 

Where imaginings of the dreaming child,

Are hidden in the words he asks.

In the misty moonlight softly bathed,

He gathers stars within his grasp.

 

To spread upon the earth below,

From the highest branches of the Tree.

Laughing as he gazes out,

At all the wonders that he sees.

 

Within the darkness of the forest fare,

The faeries dance to merry tunes.

Where lamp lights glow with candles bright,

Shadows play from light of moon.

 

Where the magic of some simple words,

Is formed from memories long past.

Written in the ‘Book of Dreams’,

Within the Tree from where they’re cast.

 

Upon a dragonfly is carried,

All his hopes and dreams so true.

Silken wings in moonlight glow,

Starlight on the diamond dew.

 

Within the sky an ethereal glow,

Stretches far as eyes can see.

Spread amongst the stars that shine,

Like children smiling down on me.

 

Quietly I sit once more,

Where shadows stretch across the ground.

Senses charged in ready wait,

Listening for that all familiar sound.

 

Echoed laughter fills the air,

Reminding of what used to be.

Will the old man ever find the child,

With time I’m sure that I will see.

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What is it that a child sees within their mind? What dreams will come true, unfolding then drifting like the mists of time as they traverse the known and the unknown realms that exist within the deepest reaches of time and space? Could the innocence of a child be all that was needed to open the door to that mystical, magical place that rides parallel to that which we know? Is this the place through which paper boats laden with thoughts and wishes shall sail, going far beyond the horizon to the nether reaches of the widest oceans before returning, ragged, but intact all the same, carrying the answers to the questions that we have sent?

As the small boy stood with his arm outstretched, he waved his hand as if it held a mighty sword, yet within his steely grip was a simple pen and in his other hand was a single piece of parched white paper upon which he had scrawled but a few carefully chosen words. The sun shone brightly bathing him in its soft yellow glow as it held fast for the last part of the day, and the stiff breeze that blew from across the dark blue ocean stung his skin as it carried the salt filled air. His coat battered against his leg like a loose tent flap in a storm, with a hollow, yet sharp sound like that of a cracking whip. He stared across the ocean into the distant unknown and there, just above the horizon, the vapours of a large dark cloud twisted and turned into shape. His eye in tune with a wild imagination saw large dragon form, bathed in the red glow of the sun, and from its mouth spewed forth the electric blue fire of lightning and the rolling roar of thunder that accompanied it carried across the ocean to where he stood in awe. So much never did cease to amaze him, and so often he would stand alone and ponder the intricacies of life and death.

Elsewhere, a small girl huddled in the solitude of The Garden of Life. The soft pink bows that tied her long dark hair and the pink runners with spangled sparkly pink laces gave only a little away of who she really was. She watched as the glow of the dragonfly and butterfly ornaments that adorned her garden bed changed colour before her ever wondering eyes like a rainbow light show. Some time ago she fell from the Tree, bruised and battered from the blows that life had dealt her and it was here that she landed, here that she felt safe and secure in a place full of blissful moments that would sustain her when no other moment could. It was warm like a soft feather doona, and on the darkest of nights with a clear sky, she could count the millions of stars that shone from above, carrying her back for just a moment to where she would grab a fleeting glimpse of her past. Long gone were the memories that had filled her days with joy and laughter, replaced by the careful, considered thoughts and words that now filled her life. Yet she was gaining greater courage with each passing day and week, and although she did not realise it yet, the time would come once more where the magic of being a child would carry her away.

He was small, but he was strong, with his words belying the true self that he had become, and as the sun bade him farewell for another day, so the stars began to twinkle in the blackness of the night, greeting him like a million children all wanting to share in the wonders his words would bring. He turned his back to the dragon in the distant sky that had faded like so many of his childish dreams, and he walked slowly along the path that wound its way through the undulating sand dunes, marked by the finger print lines of the wind. The ripples in the sand twisting and weaving like a snake from a story he once knew, ready to pounce and take him if it so chose. No longer did the stiff winds batter his tiny body, instead replaced by a soft breeze that now carried him in a drifting state as though his tiny feet did not touch the ground. Onward he went, into the Magic Forest, where fireflies danced like tiny candles suspended from an invisible string, their light painting him in an eerie glow as they went about their business. Faeries darted here and there, every now and again coming in for an inquisitive look, before disappearing once more, visible to only those that believed in their existence, and he certainly believed they were real.

With his long white hair and blue jacket he was a sight to behold as he bounded here and there, with the exuberance of the imaginative child that he was. Often he would pause and turn quickly as he tried to spy some cheeky faerie as it played hide and seek with him, giving a little giggle each time he succeeded in catching a glimpse. “Hello,” he called as he stood in the clearing, but all that returned was an echo from the hidden places deep within the forest. He called again, this time louder with more purpose, at the same time with a saddening desperation that his friend for whom he searched may hear his cry. Again it was only his echo that responded, with the fading repeat as it bounced from tree to tree. He had sailed many paper boats and for fleeting moments she had shown herself, but like a ghost on a calm dark night, she would appear and then fade to be lost once more, never managing to grasp her dreams for much longer than she felt safe. He looked mournfully around, yet here and now in the stillness of the forest he knew that she may not come again, but he could only believe.

As the stars sparkled overhead, through the clear roof of her garden, she looked to find just one that may come to life and smile ever brightly upon her. Ever so carefully she climbed to her feet, stretching her weary body and offering a tiny yawn before sliding the door to her Garden open.  She peered out into the dark distance with all the unknowns obscured by the shadows cast, yet she felt compelled to take another step beyond the comfort and safety she had found. She had been stirred by a soft familiar sound which had now faded into the hum that filled her head and in the darkness she had felt drawn to some far off place, but still a part of her was tied to where she had been hiding. In the starlight, an old metal swing glistened, smudged with the brown rust of time, and it creaked as it moved ever so slightly in the breeze as if calling her to sit once more, encouraging her to break the bonds that had restrained her for so long now. As she stepped through the doorway, she let her fingers slip free from her hold on the last piece of what had protected her, and at the same time she let her mind drift almost becoming numb until she found herself sitting alone upon the wrought iron etched seat of the swing.

She felt a calmness wash over her, and as she looked at the scars carried by the nearby statue, so she saw herself, recovering from what she had endured and this put her even more at ease because it was a sign of what could be where there once was no hope. As she sat in contemplation, the last chirping of the small birds that filled her garden could be heard emanating from the nearby bushes in which they had made their homes, and it was as if she understood the stories they were telling of what the day had delivered for them. With the calmness that surrounded her, she began to drift back into that childlike state in which her memories had begun to stir once more, and she began to wonder now if it could ever be the same again. She could only believe, but she did not want to be dashed upon some rocky shore, never to be found, so she would be cautious and only time would tell what was to be.

Of all the things that he had seen and known, there was no one thing that stood out more in his imagination than any other, and as he stood in the opening of the magic forest, he gazed all around. The many dreams, the many tales came flooding back into his mind like a giant picture show that played his life like one big fairy tale. He was mesmerised by it all and the journey that he and his small friend had taken before she disappeared. They had sought out courage and strength, truth and believing and with this they had conquered the darkness and set alight the candle of life that still burned strong. They had seen the best and the worst that the world had to offer, but they had never once given up, and the Magic Forest stood as a testament to who they had become. As he looked, he could see the twinkling of the first star with all its magic and wonder, and nearby the tiny dragonflies and butterflies that flitted from flower to flower in the soft dusk light, each with its own purpose, each with its own meaning in the cobweb that life had woven magically for them.

As the last ray of the sun burst from beyond the horizon, it reached out like a finger pointing, and it reflected from the distant ivory tower, sending a glint of light as a reminder that some thing’s still remained and that only with time and patience would they be tamed. The rainbow colours that had adorned it had been replaced once again by the stark white paint of before, yet he hoped that his tiny friend would see beneath that. He hoped she would remember what it had become and the adventure that had unfolded on a bright summer’s day a long while ago when she had been rescued from its upper most confines.

He heard a sound, and as he turned he saw a fox dancing in the nearby wheat field, as if chasing some imaginary child as is leapt here and there. As he watched the fox, he remembered a tale from his past and although he could see the fox he wondered if like his friend it was truly there or just vision from that parallel world which may or may not exist alongside our own. He turned his gaze looking once more deep into the night sky with all the stars that now shone like tiny diamonds, and then to the deeper colours of space that made this canvas upon which they were laid even more wondrous. A shooting star raced across the sky, burning bright then fading, and as it did he cast his wish before it disappeared into the distance behind the tall wide silhouette of the Friendship Tree. If he did not know better, he would have imagined that it had landed within the Tree itself but then that was the magic of his simple imagination.

Sitting quietly on the metal swing, the small girl felt the breeze of a butterfly kiss upon her cheek, and as she did so she closed her eyes to dream. Ever so slowly the old metal swing began to squeak as she was rocked back and forth. The sound was reminiscent of the old see saw on which she had found herself not too long ago, and as she opened her eyes, the soft light of the rising moon lit up her smile and for just a moment she thought she saw the silhouette of a dragonfly she had once known. She closed her eyes once again and in a moment a shadow flickered upon her eyelids, tempting her to open them once more. As she slowly opened her eyes, she sat aghast at the ethereal form of the small boy that wandered before her, side to side as if searching for something he had lost, yet he did not see her. He was calling for her, and even as she called back, he could not hear. He came close to where she sat on the swing and with her tiny fingers she stretched to touch him, calling his name as the swing made its forward motion, but as she did, so he disappeared. This left her with a lost and empty feeling as though the future had come then gone in the instant that was time as she had come to know it.

In the distance a voice called softly and she placed her feet on the ground stopping the swing in mid motion, and as she listened intently the familiar call drew her from the darkness of where she had been into the eerie glow of the moon. At the same time the small boy also heard a familiar voice and as he watched, a soft light began the radiate from the Tree in the distance. The fox stopped what it was doing, then turned and watched as the smile on the face of the small boy grew ever wider before it too was drawn forward, cautiously moving to where the Tree stood bold and strong. The small girl had let go of all that had held her, abandoned all the fear that had so consumed her, and as she ran, the laces on her pink runners danced like octopus tentacles to a silent tune. As she came closer to the tree, she recognised the shape that was her friend on the path that wound from the forest in the other direction and she called, as did he. They both stopped at the bottom of the tree, puffing and panting.

“Where have…….” She stopped him before he could say another word and she explained as best she could. “I tried, and I knew that everything would be alright, but at the same time I just could not see as clearly as I usually do.” He wanted to say something but she was so full of words and after all his paper boats he was glad to just let her speak. “I had forgotten it all, everything that I had learnt, all the simple things you had shown me, and worst of all I had become lost in my own little world, drowning in everything that had overcome me.”

He needed not say anything in return, because he understood and all that mattered was that she was back. A soft mist began to drift across the valley floor like the white foam on the incoming ocean tide. It tickled their feet as it rolled across their shoes, drifting in tiny wisps of vapour. The fox stood there, first raising one paw, then replacing it before raising another in astonishment as the mist wrapped itself around it. The two friends climbed into the tree, and lifted the fox up with them, and as the mist filled the valley floor, all around them looked like the ocean. In the pale moonlight, the fox lay its head upon the wide branch and fell asleep, whilst the two friends talked in endless conversation, making up for the time that they had not spoken over the long last while. This was not the end, nor was it the beginning. It was where they were now, it was where the journey they were on had placed them and they knew that there were more adventures, more wonders to be seen, greater lessons to be learned. Today there would be no magic, no more than the simple words written on this page, the magic of words on their own. For now they were just two friends sitting in a tree, filling the Book Of Dreams with words that told of something unique, but at the same time something that others would one day embrace and find of their own as well.

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All the wonders of the forest unfolded before the small boys eyes, as the sun set slowly on the last day of the year. The birch trees, tall and slender, with their white paper bark sat motionless, bathed in the warm yellow glow at the end of the day. Nearby tiny birds could be heard singing their last joyful tunes in the fading light as if saying good night to one another after a long day, tucking themselves into their nests for the evening. The whistling hum of cicadas began to fill the air as the warmth of the day was replaced by the chill that a clear night sky would bring. The small boy pulled his blue jacket around himself, and ran his tiny fingers through his long white hair, flicking it back from where it had fallen across his soft blue eyes. His tiny fingers carefully fastened the golden buttons so that he could keep the cold away from his small body.

He lay on his back, with the tall grass and soft yellow daisies gently wrapping around him, and as he stared deep into the blue sky above, he could only begin to imagine all the wonders he would see as a hundred billion stars unfolded before him when night finally took hold. Staring into the sky, his view was framed by the green heart shaped leaves that melded into the blue as it grew deeper in tone. Strange sounds could be heard in the distant reaches of the forest and in his imagination he formed creatures with large ears and noses, and fur that was long and white, with large clawed paws that left foreboding footprints where ever they went. That they even existed was highly unlikely in anywhere but his mind, but then that was what young boys did, especially this one. All his thoughts were intermingled with just a touch of reality then told in stories bold and full of fantasy, yet with the vigor of a seasoned storyteller.

He would often smile to himself as he watched the look of amazement on his friend’s face as he recounted journeys that had only ever been taken in dreams, yet were always so much fun to share. “Shhh, listen and you can hear them stir,” he would say as the breeze opportunistically rustled a nearby bush. “I think the faeries are here to play. Don’t turn now, but there it one just over your shoulder.” The smiles would form and then without even daring to turn she would ask. “Tell me what it looks like?” He would pause, then with a cursory glance he would begin. “Well she is not much bigger than my hand, and she is wearing satin and lace, in rainbow colors, with her hair tied in a single pony tail. Her wings are glistening in the sun, and her eyes are like magic and wonder rolled into one, ready to cast a spell on any that she may see fit to do so.” “Go on,” his friend would ask as he paused in thought. “There is nothing more I can tell you.” He would say as he smiled in return.

Today, in this moment he was on his own, and his thoughts and imaginings were all his to have and he could just believe without any further explanation. In the forest the shadows of the trees had begun to reach out, stretching like tiny fingers over the undulating fields that lay between him and the Tree, and as the light grew dimmer, so the shadows faded into the darkness that had gradually taken over. Within the forest, the glow of tiny firefly lanterns began to illuminate the trees and the forest floor, with a gentle breeze making them sway, with their painted light bringing the forest to eerie life.  His eyes followed the path as it wove its way to where it divided into two, and in the fading light the path to the left disappeared into the mist and the ruins that lay beyond. At times like this, he would just sit and listen, with ears pricked, to the faint sounds of children laughing, and the reassuring voice of the old man that protected them all. So often he wished to join them, but he knew his place was here keeping the Tree alive with his words, and so it was he remained.

Dew drops hung with a delicate grip from the tiny tendrils of the small ferns that dotted the forest floor, sparkling in the starlight like tiny diamonds. Ever so slowly the forest began to come to life as the creatures stirred from their daytime slumber, stretching and yawning as they wiped the faerie sleep dust from their eyes. As he stood and turned his back on the forest, the glow cast his shadow long, and he raised his arm so that his shadow touched the very base of the Tree. He walked from the twisted, knotted entrance of trees with their dangling branches flicking against his hair, and as he stepped into the wheat field he could see the ghostly forms of children that had long ago disappeared from his memory. They ran and played, laughing with echoed cries as if taunting him to bring them to life once more with the words of dreams, but he wondered could it ever be again. Time had seen them vanish and no matter how hard he tried, he could not find them, although he was sure of where to look.

He stood quietly with a tiny tear welling in his eye, and he thought about the many paper boats so intricately folded and so carefully set upon the sea of life in search of answers, in hope of words to be returned. As he watched the children laughing, the tear lost its steely grip and fell from his eye, and as it did it spun and twisted and a small blue dragonfly formed, coming to life, hovering and watching them play just as he did. The children paused for a moment and looked in his direction, and he thought once more before some simple words formed in his mind.

 

The simple innocence of a child at play,

Dancing upon this sacred earth.

Holding on to all their dreams,

Carried with them to death from birth.

 

Long lost laughter and words so bright,

From imaginations drifting with the tide.

Floating aimlessly on the sea of life,

Waiting all so patiently to find.

 

If only to grasp to truly glimpse,

For real the words so often sought.

Laid out upon the paper fine,

The many things a mind has thought.

 

To find the child inside once more,

Without a care for all to see.

The time I know will one day come,

When all we know will come to be.

 

As quickly as the words came, so they faded from his mind, and as they did the ghostly shapes that played before him faded into the darkness with only whisperings as they went. Left behind were the dancing lights of three fireflies that spiraled into the dark sky above, taking their place amongst the many stars that flickered there. The dragonfly was all that now remained, his only friend, and he reflected on all that had become. Together they would walk the path that wound its way to the Friendship Tree, standing tall and wide in the sparkling starlight with a soft glow radiating from within its branches. They stopped midway along the path and the small boy turned his gaze skyward, with the breeze gently tapping his coat tails as he stood admiring the plethora of stars that spread from horizon to horizon. From beyond the forest he could now hear the sound of the ocean as it rolled like thunder, before crashing like the sound of summer rain on an old tin roof as it tumbled the many pebbles on the shore. It was a peaceful sound and it added to the atmosphere of the night as he continued to look skywards at the smudges of red, pink and blue, that were intermingled with stars, the vast unknown that lay unexplored, except within his imagination.

As his long white hair began to toss in the breeze, he let his thoughts take him into the sky and for a moment he imagined the big blue ball that would be seen from the deep dark reaches of space, and he wondered if that was what the stars saw also and if that was why they always smiled. A shooting star cast itself across the sky, with a bright burst of electric blue light as it ended its journey. He held onto the thought, a wish to be made at another time, and then he continued on his way. As he walked, he placed his hands into his deep coat pockets, with his tiny fingers fumbling desperately, but he only managed to find a small piece of what he had searched for, leaving it hidden for later on. The Friendship Tree was looking old and the rough bark that wrapped itself around the trunk was showing signs of dying. He ran his fingers across it and it spoke to him of the many stories protected within, the many days of children playing, and now the endless days of silence that it endured.

He climbed into the Tree and he sat quietly, almost mesmerized by the mobiles that spun in the soft lantern glow. The dragonflies sparkled and spun as though suspended on a fine gossamer thread. Their words echoed out for all to hear, with the rainbow colors reflecting off their wings. Nearby, hung the worn and ragged butterflies, spinning momentarily then stopping, almost lifeless. The words they held were truly wonderful, but they had become tired, jaded, and even as he looked on they seemed to age before his tiny tear filled eyes. He reached into his coat pocket once more, and in his tiny hands he held his last piece of magic. He looked carefully at it, then as he cast it upon the butterflies he also made his wish. The butterflies came to life and began to dance on the breeze, but he knew this could not last, he knew it needed more. He sat in the silence, with only the sound of his heart beat and shallow breath to be heard. Then a whisper came. He missed it at first, but then he heard it once more and a voice told him that he could not stop trying and that one last paper boat with words so simple must be set upon the sea to sail. He carefully lifted the dragonfly from where it sat on his shoulder and he placed it near the lantern so it’s shadow fell across the Book Of Dreams.

He climbed down from the Tree, falling and tumbling the last bit as he could not contain his enthusiasm, rolling to his feet before running along he path. His tiny legs carried him faster than he had ever run before, leaping over tall tufts of grass, weaving through the forest with the faeries watching on in wonder, then the arduous final climb to the cliff top overlooking the ocean with its cold deep blue in the darkness of the night. He paused to catch his breath, before sliding down the dune to the beach below. Seagulls called as they flew overhead, searching in the night as if they had lost something. He sat on the pebbles and he folded the stark white paper meticulously, so that it formed a paper boat. He took out a pen and upon it he simply wrote, ‘please come back.’ He walked to the waters edge and he carefully placed it upon the shimmering surface, guiding it on its way in hope that it would be found. As he stepped back he watched and waited, then sat amongst the shells and seaweed watching some more. ‘The stars are sparkling all so brightly tonight,’ he thought to himself as he continued to watch his paper boat sailing away. Many had gone, and few returned, though he always believed that they were seen and that the words they carried made a difference for someone, somewhere.

He stood and taking up a small stick that lay nearby he drew a picture in the sand of a tree with a dragonfly hovering in mid air, and below it he wrote.

 

In friendship I trust,

With words I grow strong,

The thoughts of a child,

Shared with everyone.

 

Decorated with shells, pebbles and colored seaweed, the image was as if it were alive and he dreamed that it could seen by all the tiny eyes sparkling from the sky above. As he left the beach and headed back to the Tree, he turned and caught a last glimpse of the paper boat as it sailed on and he wondered, he hoped and he dreamed of what would one day be, of the butterflies that may live to spin their magic, and of a friend that would climb into the Tree once more to share her words.

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The small boy walked alone along the winding forest path, with the flickering light playing on the leaves as he kicked his way merrily on through. His long white hair reflected in the dappled light and the buttons on his magical blue coat glistened all golden and bright like small stars. It was that magical time of the year and he had delivered all but one gift to all those that he knew, and although he could not see them, he knew that there were smiles across their faces as they removed the coloured paper that was so neatly wrapped around each and every present that he had left. A toy here a memory there, a thought or words that rhymed. There was so much he had tried to fit into the moment that he was nearly exhausted.

Tiny faeries flew along side him as he walked, and they filled his coat pockets with magic dust, before flying away once more to tend to the forest. He paused by the River of Redemption, where his reflection danced upon the ripples in the still water alongside the river bank which brought a smile to his face, and he watched as his eyes lit up wide at the imaginations he was having. He was a dreamer and his tales would hold those that cared to listen transfixed on every word and, the pictures he painted were magical, where his adventures carried even the most fearful souls to places where dreams do come true. He knew no fear, or at least none that anyone else may ever know, and in the simplest of words he gave courage and strength where before there was only confusion and despair.

As he sat quietly, he listened to the sounds of the singing birds as they chirped out beautiful tunes, with the whistle of the breeze as it gently rustled through the leaves in the trees, and the gentle of the pebbles in the fast flowing sections of water before him like the heartbeat of the forest. He watched as dragonflies and butterflies came and went from the water’s edge, sipping from the life giving crystal clear coolness that flowed on to the sea, before they moved on once more. ‘Life was surely so wonderful,’ he thought to himself as he watched the delicate fluttering butterfly, with its colourful crepe paper like wings as it was carried aimlessly by the wind, then in distinct contrast to the bold blue dragonfly with its speed and agility in full control of his destiny, keeping a close eye on the other creatures there.

As he sat, he thought about many things, and then he reached into his jacket pocket and from it he removed a tiny folded piece of paper, and he ran his fingers along its neat creases before finally pulling it into shape. He carefully placed it on the water’s surface and watched as it bobbed and weaved in the eddies that formed as the river wound its way into the distance. He did not know where this paper boat would finally end, but he did believe that it would find itself a home and that maybe one day it may even return like so many before.

The light had begun to fade as the evening drew near, and he climbed to his feet brushing the loose leaves from his trousers. He looked around at the small lanterns that hung from the weeping branches of the trees like tiny teardrops, and then he made his way to where the forest opened up onto the wide fields, becoming an ocean of soft pink flowers. As he stood admiring the undulating landscape with all its shape and mystery, he saw a small fox, reddish brown with a flash of white on its tale. It leaped and bounded here and there as if chasing something, although there was nothing to be seen, yet that did not seem to matter. It paused for a moment as it stared back at the small boy, tilting its head side to side inquisitively as though it new the child and trusted who he was, before it continued once more in its joyous dance.

As he watched he remembered a tale from a long while ago, where a girl with pink bows in her hair had found the injured fox along this same path, and how she had shown compassion enough to offer it life. The white haired boy tossed his head slightly, flicking away the few strands of hair that had fallen across his eyes, and as he held his gift tightly in his hands, he wondered if he too could offer the same to his friend. In the distance, the tall wide branches of the Friendship Tree reached into the cobalt blue sky that was beginning to come to life with the many stars that were a wonder to him. They flickered and sparkled like faerie lanterns held high in the distance for all to see. Where most people felt afraid in the dark, he felt a quiet solitude, but at the same time togetherness and comfort with the stars smiling back at him like tiny friends.

He stood staring at the Tree, where a warm inviting yellow glow radiated out through the leaves, and as he listened, he heard the familiar lalalalalalalala of his small friend, whom he had been looking for. He became excited in anticipation of the smile she would give in return for the gift he had for her. He ran to the tree, with his tiny legs barely managing to keep him upright, and when he reached the bottom of it, he ran his fingers along the coarse bark as if to greet it before calling out. “Hey there, are you here?” The singing stopped, and he waited in the silence. “I know you are in there, I heard you squawking from way up the path.” She poked her head through the leaves and with a pouty mouth exclaimed. “No fair, are you mocking me?” He smiled back and cheekily said, “nope, but I knew it would make you show your face.” She smiled then noticing his hands behind his back asked. “What you got there?” He stared all around pretending to not know what she meant, before looking in her direction once more. “There, behind your back?” she smiled, pointing to his arms tucked behind him.

He took the gift from behind his back, with its nice Santa paper neatly wrapped around it, and he held it out for her to see. He told her it was for her for Christmas, and also in celebration of the journey that she had now found herself taking. She clapped her hands in excitement as he carefully climbed the Tree and in the soft candlelight that flickered on the leaves overhead, he gave her his gift. “It isn’t much,” he explained as he watched her sit down then shake it to see if she could guess what it was. The puzzled look on her face told him that she was trying very hard, but unsuccessfully guessing what was contained within, and impatiently he whispered. “Come on, open it, cause it won’t open itself.” Her tiny fingers wrestled with the sticky tape, and then as the first piece of paper came away, so the rest followed in quick succession to reveal a brown cardboard box. She opened the box and within it she found the small statue of a boy holding a balloon.

She smiled and as she did he explained the gift. “Up until now, I have told you to believe, offering many words of strength and courage, and I have seen you grow and become strong. Now the road you walk is the destiny you created and with that I have a new word.” He smiled and as she held the small statue aloft, so that the stars sparkled around it, she read the word that was formed in the intricate wire shape held tightly in the small statue’s hands. The word was ‘Hope’. She had battled all adversity, she had fought the darkness and she had conquered her fear, so that now she had truly given herself hope. He looked at his friend, and he told her. “So many people live in hope and that is all they do, and hope on its own is just that. However when you have strength and courage, and you truly believe in what you are doing, you no longer live in hope, but instead you have given yourself hope that has true meaning and worth.” She nodded her head because she understood his words and she knew beyond all doubt that she was now in full control of her destiny. In the distance a flash of electric blue light filled the sky and the sound of thunder filled the air, startling the small girl to turn. As she turned to look at her friend once more, the small boy had disappeared, the only memory remaining being the small statue she now held. In the deep dark sky a single star sparkled brightly above all others, and a childish laughter filled the air.

Throughout our lives, we come to learn much, regret some things, and if we are truly lucky we get to meet people that understand us, people who are prepared to share the best and worst of whom we are without any further thought. Some say they are many, but I say they are unique, and those people are what I call true friends.

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Sometimes in life the paths that are laid out before us twist and turn with no discernable end in sight and even worse, where they lead is often not fully understood. Even for a grownup the choices can be daunting to say the least. So how is it that a small child faced with what she feels is such an overwhelming task begin to navigate what is needed to be done, and at the same time remain positive about the outcomes.

It was a warm summer’s afternoon, and as the clouds meandered across the deep blue sky, with the shapes shifting like desert sands to bring them to life in his vivid imagination, the small boy sat and waited just as he had done so for many months now. Strands of his long white hair dangled across his face, with the gentle breeze flicking them to life like a puppy dogs tail wagging across his wide blue eyes. He had seen so much in his short life, and as he sat patiently he wondered about the many dreams he had seen and how much there was that may yet come to pass, and at the same time he wondered whether or not he still had the magic that had been so prevalent in the past. As he looked along the branch on which he sat, he stared at the vacant space that would long ago have been taken by his friend with her hair tied so neatly in pink bows, and a giggling laughter that came with some of the silly stories they shared. Overhead were suspended the sparkling dragonfly mobiles that he had continued to hang in recent times, which danced upon the slightest breeze and created rainbow reflections on the soft green leaves that surrounded them. Nearby were the last of the tiny butterflies that his friend had hung, and although few would read them, he kept them alive by blowing a gentle breeze of kind words upon them so that they too would spring to everlasting life. He had been told that butterflies were ethereal, but then he knew differently, and he believed that they could be whatever a young inspired mind chose them to be.

In the distance the Magic Forest had become quiet, and he had not visited it in a long while as he explored newfound places full of all sorts of wonderful adventures. Although in the evening the light still radiated from within, it had become dimmer and the soft sweet sounds of the faeries as they celebrated the life they lead had become subdued as if muffled by an ever-present force. He looked closely at the rough bark on the tree trunk that he had laid his back against and he thought about how it looked like a finger print that made it stand out amongst all other trees.

“Hello,” called a familiar voice in a slightly desperate tone. He sat bolt upright from where he rested against the trunk of the Tree, at first wondering if he had fallen asleep, but then it came once more, with even greater desperation. “HELLO, are you in there, it’s terrible?” she shouted as she caught her breath. She stood at the base of the Tree puffing and panting and then she looked deep into the leaves, just in time to see him peer through with his wide smile, and she too formed a smile upon her face for a brief moment before being replaced by a desperate look of a confused little girl. He could not hide his excitement that she had come to the Tree once more, and as she stood below, he beckoned her to climb so that they could sit and talk, but she shook her head, before turning to look along the path she had just run down. He sensed the urgency now in how she had reacted and with a concerned voice he asked. “What’s wrong, why the look of dismay?” She was beginning to catch her breath, and at the same time she was trying to blurt out the many words that were needed, but in the end all she could simply say was, “it’s dying.” He looked at her rather questioning and asked, “what’s dying, what are you talking about?” She turned once more and still puffing she pointed the tiny finger on her outstretched arm in the direction of the Forest.

He swung down from the branch on which he sat, and by this time she had already began to lead the way along the lush grass covered path lined with soft pink and red flowers that swayed in the wash of breeze as she ran past. He chased after her and before long he was just behind her and as they neared the forest, he could see why it was she had shown the concern she had, as the wide path tapered into a dark tangled mess of blackberry brambles, which twisted and turned and made any further journey almost impossible. They entered the forest and as they wound their way along the tight path, tiny butterflies and dragonflies could be seen caught, now lifeless upon the sharpened thorns that adorned the long strands that reached out to catch even the most unsuspecting of creatures. She shed a tear, and at the same time he also felt sadness at what he now saw. Even more so he felt a great weight upon his shoulders, because had he have taken the time and shown a greater concern, it may well be that this had never even got this way. ‘Off on adventures of less importance,’ was the thought that went through his mind, ‘if only I had not neglected something that had been such an important part of the life I led.’ Very little light penetrated the matted, thorny vines, and here and there rats and mice ran, terrorising the creatures that usually called this place a home. As they reached the centre of the Forest, the heart of its being, the twisted tangled mess was still evident, but so were signs that a fight had begun. The faeries had been hard at work, and although they had begun, it was very clear that they needed help. The statues that had been placed here long ago were slowly being uncovered, and the sunlight penetrated the depths from above.

They made their way back to the beginning and stepped out from where they had entered, emerging from the dim light of the forest into the evening light that had begun to paint itself across the land, with a soft pink glow penetrating only slightly into the twisted tangled entrance. With a puzzled look upon her face she whispered as if not wanting to let anyone else know, “It’s bad isn’t it, what are we going to do?” The small boy sat quietly on the edge of the path and pondered. He looked up at her worried face, then suggested, “We could poison it and do the same with all the rats and mice.” I know it will work, I have seen if done so many times before. She nodded at first, but as a pink butterfly landed on her arm, and a dragonfly landed on a nearby flower she hesitated and then she thought. “But what about everything else that lives there, the trees, the small creatures, what will happen to them?” A vision formed in his mind of the dead and desolate state that the forest would become as if it were foretelling the future, with the indiscriminate bombardment that method would entail, and at the same time the damage it would do to all the creatures that relied on this place as a home, and for the food that would sustain them. “You are right, and I have seen it so often before, and in its depleted defenceless state, the brambles will return and they will thrive where before they grew but were at least able to be contained.”

They sat quietly once again, staring into the distance across the wide expanse of the distant wheat field. There a single fox leapt as it ran, enjoying the freedom that sometimes being alone gave, and seeing this the boy remembered and smiled, because he had another idea. He looked at the small girl and smiled and she returned his look wondering for just a moment what had come into his mind. “How strange it is that something so obscure could mean so much?” She looked at the fox and was perplexed with what it may have meant, what it was he saw. Then he went on to explain, without trying to confuse her. “Remember a book you once asked me to read? One about a little prince?” She smiled as she remembered, but then she was still a little confused, so he went on to explain. “In the story, the little prince wanted a sheep, and that in turn got me thinking about something I had seen recently. It was about goats and how they can be put to use because they eat brambles like chocolate.” She smiled because she liked sheep and chocolate, the organic kind mind you, but she was a little unsure about goats? “So what we do is, we get a flock of goats and we set them free in the forest. They will eat all the brambles and their digestive system actually kills all the seeds so that the brambles don’t come back. Nothing else is destroyed in the process.” She clapped her hands gleefully and then he went on to explain that once the brambles are gone, the owls and other birds that that live in the forest will take care of the rats and mice, so everything will be restored to its natural beauty and balance. She was so excited by what he had said and she could not wait to put the plan into action.

They found a farmer and brought a flock of twelve goats, each of them healthy and strong, and within days they had begun to clear a path through the Magic Forest once more. Time flew and in six weeks the brambles were gone and the owls and other birds had decimated the rat and mice population. With this the faeries rejoiced and the two friends watched on with glee, as they sang and danced to merry tunes. Now the forest was back to its natural state and the white haired boy set the goats free to roam the fields and live a happy life. One single goat with long white hair remained as if at home in this wonderful place and it would ensure that if for any reason the brambles tried grow again, it would dispatch them without a further thought.

The two friends now sat in the Tree on the branch of old and they thought back to a day not long ago when a fearful child came looking for help. In the fading evening light they smiled at what they had achieved and how the choices that were made were done so for the better of all. They thought how over many years grownups had sought the quickest options to deal with life issues on a daily basis, and how greatly that had impacted on so much that was now wrong in this unfortunately ever changing world. Long ago before all the quick fixes that now exist, things used to just fix themselves and what two children did was prove that for fact. “So I guess my friend that we have learnt something new, but at the same time we believed in what can be, and the outcome was more than wonderful.” Despite all her fears the small girl now understood much more about herself and the trust she had in her own life choices. The white haired boy would continue to grow strong and share his strength and magic. He too would continue to believe, and as a matter of fact he would never stop believing. Just for good measure, a shooting star raced across the night sky, and instead of fading it burst with a flash of colour, sending a resounding laughter from the stars, through the valley, and in the distance, dancing in the glow, the fox could be heard to call, Yeeeee Haaaaw.

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He stood overlooking the rolling valley in the soft evening light, with the Tree bathed in the glow of the sun’s golden rays. His long blue coat with its polished buttons flapped in the breeze, gently tapping on his legs like a small child seeking his attention, with the buttons making a tinkety tink. As he studied all that lay before him, he watched as the wheat field swayed like the surface of the ocean with an ever changing texture. He glanced in the direction of the Tree and as he looked closer he thought he saw with his tiny eyes a glint of light as it reflected from within the Tree, and as he concentrated harder he could hear the smallest sound of laughter echoing from within. ‘No, it can’t be,’ he thought to himself, but there it was again, ‘surely not?’ Excitedly he ran through the wheat field, nearly falling as his tiny legs almost lost all control as he leaped and bounded on his way, and when he finally stood at the bottom of the Tree, he waited and he listened intently. The laughter was still there, but it had become weaker, almost more distant as if fading into obscurity far from the deepest reaches of his imagination as if drifting away from where it had begun.

He climbed the Tree to where he would usually sit and once inside he gazed around, but there was not a single soul to be found, not a sign that anyone had been here in the last while. He bowed his head and he wondered, then as the breeze blew through the dangling green leaves he heard it once more. He turned then looked overhead and there he noticed the familiar sight of a mobile with the remnants of shattered butterflies suspended precariously from the fragile pieces of string. As it wavered in the light he saw one final in tact butterfly, the last one hung from a rainbow coloured string and as it span in the breeze so the softest laughter could be heard. He thought to a time not long ago and he remembered this one, the rescue one, the one that had sacrificed all to search for the small boy that had drowned in all his sorrow and self-pity, the one that told of the lengths to which friends will go for one another. He approached it cautiously, with the light reflecting like a kaleidoscope from its silken wings and as he did so it fell, and with an outstretched hand he grasped and held on tightly so that it would not disintegrate on the barren ground below as so many others had.

Held now tightly within his tiny palms, he could see that whilst it was the same one, there was now more. Its words told of misfortune and despair, joy and suffering and waiting for the joy once more, but how could he be so sure, was that the laughter mingled with a sadness? He thought long and hard, and then he climbed down from the Tree, planting his feet firmly on the desolate earth below with a tiny puff of dust as he landed. He stepped away from the canopy that shielded him, and as he stood there with the hum of the night echoing he looked deep into the night sky. He reached out and grasped a small piece of the delicate velvet that spanned the sky which in turn held the many stars of hope in his vision and then he clenched his fist and took a piece in his hand. He made a soft velvet bag and he placed the delicate butterfly within mingled with just a few stars for protection, and as he did it began to stir before he closed the bag tightly. In the distance the light radiated from the magic forest and the faintest sounds of the faeries and elves carried upon the breeze to where he stood, their songs drawing him towards them. He trod the path of fortune that he had travelled so often before and as he reached the forest he watched in wonder as the small ones danced and sprinkled their magic dust upon the ground around them. He watched in amazement as everywhere it landed tiny flowers grew, in pinks and reds and blue, and dragonflies flitted carefree here and there. ‘Was this life giving, did it really have the magic he had come to find?’ he thought to himself. He thought no more and he quickly gathered some of faerie dust and he placed it inside the black bag alongside the butterfly mobile and stars, and as he did so the butterfly began to stir to life with its delicate wings fanning slowly like the beat of a tiny heart, which brought a smile to his face.

His soft blue eyes sparkled in the moonlight as he stood looking out from where the forest met the wheat field once more, and he watched as a fox danced in the moon’s glow. He sat quietly, unseen, admiring the enthusiasm with which she moved, full of life, full of believing, not a care in the world. Then as he looked on a flash of light raced across the sky, exploding like a firework and sprinkling hundreds of tiny stars across the land and like little diamonds they sparkled here and there and he searched through the field gathering each and every one of them adding them to his magical collection. Everything inside the bag now glowed bright and strong and the energy it contained was stronger than any he had made before. All this time with his concentration so intense on his task, he did not see that the fox had stopped and was looking on with a smile on her face, because she understood who he was and what it was he was seeking. He had nearly filled the bag but he wanted more, so he looked to the sky and his favorite constellation of Orion where stars are born, and he reached deep into it with his mind. With his imagination he gathered up a handful of the brightest ones that would shine like only a candle could shine, and he placed them into the bag as well.

With his prize held firmly, he made his way back to the Tree and he climbed inside with the silence all around him. There was still no sign that any one had been there and he wondered if they ever would again, but then maybe there was still time? He went to the Book of Dreams and he tore out some of the blank pages it contained and placed them inside like tiny blank butterflies waiting to be filled with words, then he took a single piece and put it in his coat pocket. Before he closed the bag to protect all that it contained, he made a tiny dragonfly.

 

Believing in the one you are,

Thoughts that give you strength and hope,

Words that carry you away,

At times when you don’t think you’ll cope.

 

Laughing in the morning sun,

Crying in the midday rain,

Then smiling at the stars that shine,

Because like you they’ll shine again.

 

For each and every star that falls,

A wish awaits for you to make,

A dream come true in times to come,

With every little step you take.

 

The stars you hold within your hands,

Are gathered there for you to see,

So even in your darkest hours,

You will pull through it’s your destiny.

 

He finished and put this into the bag, and then he placed his hand into a hole in the solid trunk of the Tree, searching with his tiny fingers, and when he removed it he was holding a small candle, like the light of life to be shared, to glow when the darkness was at its worst, a reminder of all that life is and ever will be. His treasure was now complete, the magic was captured, and now he placed the bag where his friend would usually sit with her pen and paper in hand and then he turned, but before climbing down he made a wish. It was a wish he would not share, but a wish just the same, a wish upon the star that he had seen earlier and had waited to use. He climbed down from the Tree with its rough-hewn bark and as he stood there, all was silent. The forest was asleep and the fox was gone, but as he always knew, the stars still shined, they would always shine, they would always smile and their laughter would be heard by all those that believed. He knew his friend believed just as he did, and he only hoped that his gift could give her the strength that his words had so often given before. Only time would tell, but like before he truly believed and he would never let any other thought cross into the enquiring mind of the child she was, and that one day she would realise her wildest dreams.

He sat now by the ocean blue, with his bare feet resting in the cool waters as if drawing from the magic that it offered. He took the piece of paper from his jacket pocket and he folded it carefully into the most wonderful of paper boats, and then he added some words of hope, of believing. In the moonlight, he watched as it set sail as so many had before in search of a dream. He had sprinkled this with some of his magic, yes his. He thought he was magic, no, he knew he was magic and his words would always be like air and water, they would always speak of all the positive things that life has to offer and they were there for all those less fortunate than he, all those that needed a helping hand. That was who he was and always would be and his happiness was found in the happiness that he gave to others, the most wonderful of gifts that costs nothing but a simple smile. He would wait here until this paper boat returned and he would hope that his friend would find the gift he left for her. Now as he sat quietly, the stars smiled down upon him and he smiled back, and the colours of the Milky Way glowed in reds and pinks, with just a touch of cobalt blue smudged across, intermingled amongst the stars. He laughed, and they laughed to. Yes life was a wonderful thing.

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She lay sleeping, her dreams carrying her from scenario to scenario, at times in a nightmarish form with faceless people barking instructions and demands without any thought of what was humanly possible. With all its wonder, the world had become a confusing mess and once again she had been torn here and there by those that knew her and had wished for the best. She had sought opinions from many, and each time the same sounds reverberated but still gave no comfort, and even if they did, they offered no answers to the complex questions that now posed themselves each and every way she looked.

Whilst she slept the deepest slumber, a small boy walked the darkened path that she had feared to tread earlier. In his hand he held a lantern that burnt soft, with the warming glow lighting his face in a ghostly way. The yellow tones flickered as the flame danced precariously on the end of the wick, at times threatening to leap away, but at the last minute taking hold once more. He was just a distant form and the path he trod had become brighter for all that he had done, yet it had been made no clearer. His hands were small and within them he held the clues to the answers of many questions, with the words he scrawled upon the coarse textured paper joined to make sentences, then paragraphs and finally stories that offered some sort of dim hope where before no hope existed.

He had heard the gentle sobbing earlier in the evening and in the silhouette of a tall tree he had stood, contemplating the many thoughts that flooded into his mind. He had looked deep into the starry sky and marveled at what was unknown, at the same time seeing all that the child could see, the shapes that had become amazing visions that only a child’s mind could form. At the same time he had realized that what the child saw was only a glimpse of what once was, and that now the reality of what was needed would challenge everything that she had ever known. In the distance the sobbing had subsided, replaced by the gentle breaths of a sleeping child with the intermittent murmur as she battled the dreams that played in her tired mind.

As the lantern illuminated the path before him, the darkness filled in each of the footsteps that he had already taken, so that what was ahead was all that was really clear, and even then for only a short distance. He knew this was much like what confronted his friend, and he also knew that it was much of what he had faced for a long while now. This gave him a different perspective on much, but then the child in him still believed and held onto that belief as if it were the air that kept him alive. He stopped momentarily mid way along the path, and he lowered the lantern for a moment. He looked once more to his beloved night sky and all the stars that smiled upon him, and as he heard the laughter from above he realized that no matter what, they would always be there, and that regardless of what lay before him, the child would still always be able to reach for his dreams if he should so choose.

He turned to where he had come from, and he raised the lantern, and in doing so he realized that in the darkness the path looked much the same in either direction, but the difference was he knew what lay behind him, because he had been there already. He turned once more to where the forest lay and he continued, with the softness of the daisies that lined the path melting like a watercolor bathed in the ethereal glow. He reached where the small girl lay, curled up with the remnants of a tiny tear still on her cheek. He thought about the things that had crossed his mind in the short time since he had left the security of the Tree. Then he reached into his coat pockets with his tiny hand and within it he held those simple words that would become sentences, then paragraphs. He held the lantern above her so that the life-giving glow would warm her, and then he carefully sprinkled the magic of the words upon her. She stirred slightly, but did not wake and as the morning light began to paint the sky with the wonderful colors that brought life and clarity to the land, he disappeared into the night sky, now joining the stars, laughing and smiling as he would for evermore.

She woke from the strangest of dreams, and as she did, she thought for just a moment that she could hear familiar laughter. She looked into the sky just in time to see the final blink of the brightest star she had ever seen, just before it disappeared into the soft hues of pinks and reds that now filled the sky. As she sat there, staring down the path, she could see the silhouette of her favorite tall tree bathed in the wondrous colors, silently waiting. She remembered the night before, and the fear that gripped her, the confusion that had consumed her into a desperate tear filled slumber, yet now it was clearer. She remembered a dream, so vivid it was almost real. The familiar flash of blue bathed in light, like a dream she had had so many times before.

The sweet sounds of birds singing reminded her that she was alive, and that she had been given a chance, maybe for one last time. She remembered her nightmare, at the same time remembering how it had stopped suddenly and how it was then that words began to form in her mind. Now one by one those words fell into place, and as she listened the story they told gave her hope, gave her strength, and the courage to believe.

The future is in our hands, guided by the wisdom of all we learn on the roads we travel. You know above all else where it is you have been for you have seen that clearly, and the question you need to ask yourself now is are you truly prepared to leave that behind, so that it never ever consumes you again. The path you now travel may be daunting, but the person you are knows without a shadow of doubt what it is that you must do. If you take control and be true to who you are, you will navigate the challenges that you now face, and you will be who you need to be. If however you succumb to the temptations that have riddled your past, then the darkness will wrap you forever more and as quickly as you go, you will be forgotten.

She thought carefully about the words and she believed that she understood their meaning. As she sat there in reflection, some final words played within her mind.  The path ahead is clear in the light of day, and all we know will be laid out before us on a canvas that was created from the dreams of one. Times will come and go, like so many things in our lives and in the darkness we may all find fear and confusion once more, but if you look into the night sky you will realize it holds the dreams of a child. You must know that through those dreams you can believe, and the fears will disappear in the familiar twinkling of the stars with the distant echo of childish laughter.

She looked along the path to where the Friendship Tree stood tall and strong, now clearer in the light of day, and she wondered. It had been a while since she had climbed there as a child, only visiting from time to time to hang the butterflies that had helped her process the many questions that had consumed her over the last months. What is it that she would find there now?

 

On a closing note.

 

A story, ‘The Little Prince,’ speaks of many things and if you have never read it, then it may just benefit you. If you have read it, then do so again. There are lessons of friendships formed and the responsibilities that come with those, and there are lessons that remind us that sometimes we do become so consumed in the matters of consequence that we lose sight of the importance of what life truly is. When you are finished reading it, ask yourself, are you the prince, the fox, the rose or the pilot, or are you one or all of the people that the prince visits on his journey. Most of all, ask yourself, does the child inside you see the elephant, and can you hear my laughter in the stars at night.

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